Today Brandon and Tonia talked through the detox process and how it impacted them both.
For Brandon, detoxing took a toll on him physically in ways he didn’t expect. He was no longer getting the same chemical rushes that he had trained his body to crave, and as a result he had emotional flare-ups. Nature abhors a vacuum, so he replaced porn with other unhealthy habits, like overeating, or healthy habits that he used in unhealthy ways, like a fixation on working out. When he did pick up healthy habits, like prayer, at this stage in his recovery they didn’t penetrate his heart.
For men, there are two important things to note in this. One, pornography is addictive, and as such you will feel withdrawal symptoms as you quit. It’s worth quitting, but you can expect to feel emotional whiplash at certain stages of your journey. You can’t control the chemical rush that makes you irritable in withdrawal, but you are responsible for how you handle it. One big suggestion for handling it is to sign up for Covenant Eyes (https://rb.gy/gb9zkn) and talk through what you’re feeling with your ally, so your spouse doesn’t have to bear the brunt of it. Take advantage of a 30-day free trial from Heroic Men and Covenant Eyes here: https://rb.gy/gb9zkn
That’s where the second thing comes in. Brandon was on the right track with trying to find new hobbies, but he transferred his porn use to overindulging in food or exercise. Our free ebook Hobbies and Habits (https://bit.ly/3xOYRBt) offers practical suggestions on how to replace porn with better things, including exercise, but don’t just satiate the same mindless cravings with a different indulgence. Be mindful as you practice your new hobbies! Use them to serve others, not gratify yourself.
While Brandon was detoxing, Tonia was exhibiting PTSD symptoms. If Brandon used a certain tone of voice, she would spiral into a panic attack or have other negative feelings. Her counselor told her that working through trauma would take “as long as it takes”—meaning there is no set timeframe for a wife’s recovery.
This is important! Yesterday we mentioned that wives should respond positively to her husband’s progress in recovery, such as following boundaries, but that’s easier said than done. Trauma builds its own neurochemical response in the wife’s mind, and it also requires healing. Wives, if this is you, that’s okay! Be open and honest with your husband about your healing process. And husbands, even if you’ve gone for months or a year without looking at porn, remember: her recovery will not operate on the same timeframe as yours. Be patient! You both need to heal. (Wives, a good counselor, or at least a supportive group of friends, will help you in your recovery.)
1) Husbands, if you’ve detoxed from porn before, what has the process looked like? If you haven’t, what can you expect based on Brandon’s experiences?
2) Have you replaced pornography with a healthier habit? If so, how did that go? If not, are there any hobbies you would like to develop? How can you use it to fight porn temptations without turning it into a new unhealthy obsession? (You can find ideas in our free ebook, Hobbies and Habits: https://bit.ly/3xPGImT)
3) Wives, are there any triggers that cause you to emotionally spiral? What can you do to find healing?
4) Read Hebrews 12:1-17. Husbands, how does this passage speak into your physical symptoms of withdrawal? Wives, how does this passage speak into your response to your husband as he recovers?
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every hindrance and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
For consider him who endured such hostility from sinners against himself, so that you won’t grow weary and give up. In struggling against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And you have forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons:
My son, do not take the Lord’s discipline lightly
or lose heart when you are reproved by him,
for the Lord disciplines the one he loves
and punishes every son he receives.
Endure suffering as discipline: God is dealing with you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline—which all receive—then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had human fathers discipline us, and we respected them. Shouldn’t we submit even more to the Father of spirits and live? For they disciplined us for a short time based on what seemed good to them, but he does it for our benefit, so that we can share his holiness. No discipline seems enjoyable at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead.
Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many. And make sure that there isn’t any immoral or irreverent person like Esau, who sold his birthright in exchange for a single meal. For you know that later, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, even though he sought it with tears, because he didn’t find any opportunity for repentance.